Uttarakhand cancels licenses of 14 Patanjali drugs, Supreme Court says “finally woken up”

In a recent hearing before the Supreme Court, Patanjali Ayurved, the company founded by Baba Ramdev, found itself at the center of a controversy over alleged misleading advertisements. The court reprimanded the Uttarakhand State Licensing Authority for its “inaction” in the case and criticized Patanjali for non-compliance with previous orders.

The incident unfolded when Patanjali produced an e-copy of a public apology instead of the original records requested by the court. The bench, comprising Justices Hima Kohli and Ahsanuddin Amanullah, expressed frustration, stating, “This is not compliance. I am raising my hands in this case; enough of this non-compliance of our orders.”

However, the court acknowledged a “marked improvement” in Patanjali’s approach, noting the inclusion of names in the apology instead of just the company name. “We appreciate that. They have understood,” Justice Amanullah remarked.

In response to the court’s directive, Patanjali was granted one more opportunity to file the original pages of newspapers in which the apology was issued. Both Baba Ramdev and Patanjali’s Managing Director, Acharya Balkrishan, were granted exemption from personal appearance on the next hearing date of May 7.

The Uttarakhand State Licensing Authority informed the court that the manufacturing licenses of 14 products from Patanjali and its sister concern, Divya Pharmacy, were suspended on April 15 with “immediate effect.” The court questioned the delay in taking action, stating that the authority had “woken up from sleep” and had now realized its “power and responsibilities.”

The Supreme Court’s observations came in response to a plea filed by the Indian Medical Association (IMA) alleging a smear campaign against the Covid vaccination drive and modern systems of medicine. The court had previously directed Patanjali Ayurved to publish a public apology, which the company did in 67 newspapers. However, the court found the initial apology to be inadequate and ordered a more prominent apology equal to the size of the original advertisements.

In a statement, Patanjali Ayurved acknowledged the concerns raised and expressed its commitment to upholding the highest standards of ethics and integrity. The company stated that it had taken decisive steps to ensure compliance with advertising and communication regulations, including issuing a prominent public apology and tendering an unconditional apology before the court.

Patanjali Ayurved also welcomed the Uttarakhand State Licensing Authority’s decision to temporarily suspend the manufacturing licenses of certain products, stating that it was a necessary step to maintain quality and transparency standards.

The company expressed gratitude to the Supreme Court and the IMA for their vigilance, stating that their guidance had helped identify areas for improvement. Patanjali Ayurved vowed to learn from this experience and emerge stronger, more transparent, and more committed to its principles than ever before.

As the case continues to unfold, the spotlight remains on Patanjali Ayurved’s advertising practices and the broader issue of responsible marketing in the Ayurvedic industry.